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#Housingday as a housing manager: Natalie's day

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We caught up with Bromford housing manager Natalie Matthews on #HousingDay to find what an average day looks like and what she most enjoys about meeting customers.

Since starting my journey as a housing manager at Bromford, I’ve realised, just as our customers do, you don’t get something for nothing. You always get what you put in, in all aspects of your life: hard work really does pay off. We try to give customers an aim, a purpose, guiding them towards unlocking their potential. Some customers may need a helping hand or a little nudge in the right direction; however I am seeing first hand how customers are wanting more out of life and how they are really starting to help themselves.

My customers tend to be very enthusiastic. At a home visit I always receive great feedback: How “no other landlord does what we do” or “provides opportunities and guidance how Bromford do.” The home visit is probably the favorite part of my day for me; you know there and then this customer wants more out of life - with or without a helping hand.
One particular customer that springs to mind was a single mum that had pushed herself, on her own merits, through university. She graduated with a 2-1 in law. She struggled to find work following her graduation despite following the advice of the job center, so at her tenancy review we talked through her aspirations and where she saw herself and decided she would benefit from a skills coach referral.

One of our skill coaches, Nadir, arranged to see her and within a month with his guidance and her hard work and persistence, she managed to get a place on a housing assessment day for an admin role at Bromford. Unfortunately she wasn’t successful but received really good feedback. Not put off, she has got an interview in the next couple of weeks and feels that with the experience from her assessment day and her guidance she could get the position.

I also have customers that are of retirement age but still want to make such as difference to their community. My particular customers at Viggers Court like to volunteer at the local charity shops. They help their neighbour with drying her washing as she isn’t able walk to the rotary lines with ease. They also have a weekly coffee morning with other neighbours on scheme. Customers come together, help each other and sort their issues between themselves.

Community dayI feel as a housing manager it is important to know what’s happening on my patch, like local apprenticeship schemes, training providers offering free courses or a community centre looking to fill its timetable. I need to be in touch with my community so when a customer is in need or wants a certain job or future, I can point them in the right direction. By understanding the true aspirations of my customers, I can really help them make a difference to their own lives.

The most exciting part though, is when a customer can actually achieve those things without me having to give them advice. When they’re on their own two feet and really taking on the world, completely independently, that’s when you can see the real difference #UKHousing makes.